Weather Widgets: Very Local Weather Forecasts

When you live outside the confines of a major city, one of the downsides is that you never seem to be able to get weather forecasts specifically for your town and have to resort to seeing the forecasts of the nearest enlisted location. These forecasts often end up being quite accurate, but physical proximity doesn’t imply that both locations are on the same altitude. When that is the case, more often than not, the other city’s weather is very different from your town’s, and any weather application is essentially useless to you.

That’s where Weather Widgets from Pixelspore comes into play, by using yr.no, one of the most extensive location databases I have seen in a weather application, and adding a wide collection of widget designs to top it off.

Functionality

The major attraction of Weather Widgets lies in the different homescreen setups you can use it for. Three widget sizes are available, allowing you to dedicate as much or as little screen estate to the weather forecast as you like. Each of these sizes features a different set of designs and displayed information, making a total of 18 widgets to choose from. The information displayed includes the time, date, temperature, type of weather, wind speed and direction, expected rainfall, and barometric pressure.

Examples of different weather widgets

Examples of different weather widgets

In addition, even though the name implies that the application is limited to the homescreen, Weather Widgets stretches beyond that, offering a detailed 9-day forecast for as many locations as you set.

Adding New Locations

After opening Weather Widgets, you can add a new location in 3 different ways:

  • by geo-positioning and letting the application monitor your position automatically,
  • by searching for the name of the location, or
  • by typing the URL address to the yr.no page if you already know it.

Your different locations will then show up with a 3-day short summary, and a small box below indicating when the last update took place.

Clicking on any of these locations opens a detailed screen with the daily sunrise and sunset, the next four days’ forecast split into 6-hour periods, and a less detailed forecast for five additional days. Also available is a link to view the hour-by-hour weather for the current day.

Weather Widgets locations and forecasts

Weather Widgets locations and forecasts

Inserting a New Weather Widget

Weather Widgets adds three new widgets to the selection window: 2×1, 4×1 and 4×2. After choosing which size of widgets you would like to insert, you are taken to a settings screen where all the available designs are aligned with a short explanation below them of which information each one displays. Below that is a list of all your saved locations so you can pin one to your widget.

Inserting a new Weather Widget

Inserting a new Weather Widget

Settings

The Settings screen of Weather Widgets gives yoi the option to choose your preferred units for temperature, wind, height, and precipitation, as well as date and time.

You can also personalize the widgets by setting their background transparency, opting for daytime icons to be used for forecasts even during the night, or assigning any third party application to be opened when you click on the widget’s left part or right part (only available for widgets including a clock). In addition, there are options to select an update interval that suits your usage, the recommended one being “Automatic” since it only updates if there is any new data from yr.no.

Downsides

During my usage of Weather Widgets, I came across two inconveniences. First, the different Weather Widgets display differently on the homescreen when your device is flipped to landscape mode: a select few will stretch horizontally to accommodate the new screen estate, but the majority will remain in a fixed width which is a bit annoying to the pixel-perfectionist in me. Second, when clicking on the widget that displays forecast for a specific location, you are taken to the main Weather Widgets screen, while I would have expected to be taken directly to the detailed forecast page for that location.

Weather Widgets in landscape

Weather Widgets in landscape

Overall

QR Code

QR Code

Weather Widgets is available in the Android Market as a paid application for around 1.40$. It supports Android versions above 1.6 and 8 languages: Norwegian, English, Czech, Dutch, Danish, French, Italian and Russian.

Aside from the two small niggles I encountered, Weather Widgets has been a nice change from all the other weather forecast applications. The different widget designs and the extensive settings are great to have, but what sold me on the application is the ability to access the yr.no database with its worldwide selection of locations.

I live in Lebanon and most other applications and weather databases only offer forecasts for Beirut, the capital, with a few of them adding four or five major cities. In a very small country, I came to expect nothing more, and never relied on weather forecasts as there would be times with 10℃ to 20℃ degrees of temperature difference between regions and the capital. Weather Widgets blew me away by pinpointing my location to a street in its database which is a mere 100m away from where I live, an accuracy I had never encountered before.


Summary

This is a weather application for Android with a set of 18 widgets for the homescreen and an extensive database of locations.

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